From BR Bullpen

Nicknames, both those attributed to players and teams, have played an integral part in baseball lore and history. Player nicknames are perhaps the most endearing and evocative, ingrained as they are in the fabric of the game. Some monikers have become socially ubiquitous, from Lawrence "Yogi" Berra to Edward "Whitey" Ford to Ted "The Splendid Splinter" Williams to Pete "Charlie Hustle" Rose.

Modern nicknames often have a more simplified construction, consisting of shortening or manipulating the player's actual name into something slightly different. While baseball once gave us such clever sobriquets as Jerry "Casper the Friendly Ghost" Adair, the sport is now bombarded with dumbed-down versions like Matt "Carp" Carpenter, Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez and Adam "AJ" Jones. For a while in the 1990s, variations on "Dog" were a thing, such as Lance "One Dog" Johnson, but that also faded away. On the positive side, however, derogatory nicknames based on a player's appearance or physical characteristics have largely disappeared too.

In a bid to revive some creativity in nicknames and make players more relatable to fans, Major League Baseball in 2017 started designating a special weekend during which players are encouraged to wear a nickname on the back of their uniform in the place where their last name would normally be. This brought us some original creations such as "The Bringer of Rain" for Josh Donaldson or "Corey's Brother" for Kyle Seager.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Phil Blazovich: Having Fun With Baseball Nicknames, MLC Publications, 1997.
  • Anthony Castrovince: "These are the 25 best team nicknames of all time",, May 19, 2020. [1]
  • Michael Clair: "One weird nicknamed player from each MLB team: A good nickname is the finest honor a player can receive",, April 16, 2020. [2]
  • D.B. Firstman: Hall of Name: Baseball's Most Magnificent Monikers from 'The Only Nolan' to 'Van Lingle Mungo' and More, self-published, 2020. ISBN 978-1734167405
  • Steve Gardner: "MLB's best nicknames: From 'Thor' through 'El Mago,' we pick the top ones in the game", USA Today, May 27, 2019. [3]